The Two Towers after 20 years is still the best fantasy ever

The Two Towers after 20 years is still the best fantasy ever

On December 5, 2002, Le Due Torri entered our lives. Yes exactly, twenty years have already passed, and instead it seems only yesterday that people queued up like today you rarely see them in front of a cinema, and even more rarely it happens to get excited while waiting for the lights to go out , let the show begin. Sure someone will say that time passes after all, that nothing surprises us as we get older, but in this case it is not an excuse that holds up, because the truth is that Peter Jackson was able to give us the greatest fantasy film of all times, surpassing himself and also noble sources of inspiration that had guided him towards that titanic result. Because aesthetically, semantically and for its ability to innovate the concept of feature film, that second chapter of the Trilogy probably represents absolute perfection, it remains inimitable and inimitable.

A unique trilogy for ambition and courage

In hindsight, Peter Jackson had arrived at the right time, between the 20th and 21st centuries, when cinema still believed in authors and was willing to pay astronomical sums to allow him to carry out his own project, despite algorithms and various projections.

Let's face reality: today, as remembered by many filmmakers of the old guard, productions now have an even more dictatorial power than in the past, they have muzzled directors, who are often reduced to mere executors materials, deprived of any expressive possibility. But above all, the choice is made to pamper the public following a somewhat predictable, sterile, paternalistic vision. Would Peter Jackson have had the possibility to create such a complex trilogy in terms of realization and production in these troubled years of cinematographic sterility? Something at the same time modern and ancient, pioneering as regards the use of digital technology but also traditional in the desire not to abuse it? But obviously not, today we want to have everything immediately, in the shortest possible time and in the easiest way.

Why Peter Jackson was not involved in the Lord of the Rings prequel series It is one of the most classic ghosting stories: the director was no longer contacted for The Rings of Power

The time. Here is the secret behind this perfection, time. For Jackson it was the dream of a lifetime, for Miramax and New Line Cinema it was eight years and work and a budget of 281 million dollars (at the time an almost scandalous enormity) and a number of artists involved scary. As a great expert in dreams and storytelling, however, Jackson knew perfectly well that computer graphics, a basic element for the trilogy, was and still remains a great resource today, but it should never be too preponderant, on pain of depriving the whole of realism, of credibility, humanity. A lesson that today's cinema has absolutely forgotten and that Jackson and Warner would paradoxically discover at their own expense a decade later, in the fickle and tormented derivative trilogy, the one dedicated to The Hobbit.

But in the meantime, 20 years ago the New Zealand director created a blockbuster fantasy whose post-production lasted almost 2 years and whose shooting overlapped for a certain period of time with those of the first, wonderful film, still today probably the most loved of the saga: the Company of the Ring.

Now that the cinematic multiverses have now become enormous pachyderms devoid of emotions and a real capacity for immersion, crushed on the small and large screen by repetitive and stale rhythms, it is certainly as impressive as this compared film, is capable of essentially claiming perfection in every area. The Two Towers had a sumptuous macro-narrative dimension, on which the many small stories and the many protagonists created by the genius of J. R. R. Tolkien 65 years earlier fit together and to which the New Zealand director tried to do justice as best he could. Of course, even today the purists of the great author have something to say about Jackson's choices, which here even more than in the other two films, changed, modified and eliminated various elements for the purpose of a better cinematic narration. But let's be honest, nothing was casual, nothing was distant from Tolkien's vision or disrespectful, as perfectly consistent with his desire to tell us about a drama that from private became universal, just as it was for the author to participate in the first, terrifying, world conflict.

The perfection of a realistic fantasy

We've all seen Le Due Torri at least a dozen times, the most loyal have also collected the director's cut, another small piece to add to something which the cinema then completely cleared through customs. And then just close your eyes, and here we see Frodo and Sam heading towards Mordor, and they get to know the tormented and treacherous Gollum, marvel of Weta Digital and performance capture, to the greater glory of Londoner Andy Serkis. Even this technology is in common use today and is another gift that Jackson gave to the dream factory. Precisely thanks to this character, the director made the whole a huge leap in quality, with a metaphor of the power that destroys man's body and soul, to be added to others scattered throughout that story. The film started from two parallel missions, then became a huge flood that grew, was fed by the drama of Rohan and his King Theoden (Bernard Hill), very human but tough. All to guide us towards that grand finale, towards the most incredible cinematic battle ever conceived, a siege in which Jackson literally took the breath away from every spectator, honoring Tolkien, his war memories on the trenches, on death that besieges everything.

Board games for fans of The Rings of Power Gallery 5 Images Look at the gallery "Hollywood always loses control" Jackson had declared at the presentation of the first film "when he has to do things big, he doesn't understand that the perfection in the end is imperfection” .

He knew it, he had always known it, and for this reason in his trilogy, even more so in The Two Towers, unkempt beards, scars, dented doors, unkempt hair, rust, wrinkles, mud and dust, all that he understood to be essential in order to connect emotionally to those characters that he moved in Middle-earth. The casting was confirmed as simply perfect, to the greater glory above all of him, of Viggo Mortensen, up to the trilogy one of many, who later became one of the most appreciated and loved actors in the world. Thanks to him we had a further evolution of Aragorn, halfway between the anti-hero and what men like Homer or Virgil had conceived: a symbol of man in search of himself. Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Karl Urban (also launched by the trilogy), Miranda Otto, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, and finally the two magical buddy movie couples: Marry (Billy Boyd) and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan), Gimli (John Rhys-Davis) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom).

The most malignant minds will think that if it hadn't been for this saga, perhaps we would have spared someone like Bloom , to all intents and purposes one of the least talented stars of the 21st century, yet he was as central here as he would have been in Pirates of the Caribbean . Here is the gigantic legacy of the trilogy that was already taking shape, indicating a way to change the concept of large-scale entertainment for productions. The concept of saga slowly changed into a cinematic universe, something whose full potential was realized with this second film, capable of pushing the pace and the visual dimension, in a shocking way to say the least. Featuring one of the most sumptuous Howard Shore soundtracks of all time, The Two Towers went beyond being a mere cinematographic work, it also stood as a film capable of capturing the spirit of his times. And we all remember those times, because they were those of a world in which other towers, just over a year earlier, had collapsed, changing everything forever.

A film capable of giving us a vision of the world

The Two Towers guided us through a world in turmoil, agitated by the specter of a terrifying war, in which the defenseless population was essentially defenseless against the forces of evil. The threat came from Isengard, from the sorcerer Saruman, until recently considered a friend of the world of men, but finally revealed himself as a terrifying nemesis.

In him, in his factories, in the gunpowder and in his army of Uruk-Hai, at the time it was not so absurd for all of us to see almost a metaphor of war as a steamroller that started to burn again the world. Jackson's film was therefore connected to the return of blood shed among the like, after the optimism of the 90s, at least the one that had inhabited western society. But the reality is that from the Balkans to Somalia, from the Gulf to Chechnya, the darkness had not stopped, simply, like Sauron and his troops, it had prepared in silence for the great leap. And for those who were only a boy at the time, it wasn't difficult to see themselves and their reactions to the New York attacks in the eyes of the inhabitants of Rohan, shocked in their daily lives, unaware of what tomorrow would bring.

20 Italian fantasy novels that deserve to be read Gallery 20 Images by Alberto Grandi

Look at the gallery So perhaps the secret of the success of the Trilogy was to give us comfort, to distract us during the years of War on Terror, even more than reminding us that if on the one hand it is true that the world is mainly made of gray and not black and white, it was also clear that the concept of empathy and sacrifice for others had come back powerfully current. Following Frodo and Sam, the true and supreme heroes of that saga, we would have learned by the minute. They weren't powerful warriors, elven archers or knights, but (as Tolkien had brilliantly conceived them) the symbol of the common man, however capable of facing his own fears and of taking on enormous and burdensome responsibilities where necessary. That ring, that poisoned gift capable of corrupting everything, became in The Two Towers (perhaps even more than in The Return of the King), the engine of a not indifferent inner and moral rage. Gollum more than a sort of mad variable, was nothing more than the representation of what Frodo, Sam, that all of us could have become if we were slaves to something of our instincts and power: creatures made of suffering.

Peter Jackson gave us all of this while also managing to espouse the epic, in the highest, perhaps even more mythological, sense of the term. I n The Two Towers was connected to Shakespeare, Homer, the saga of the Nibelungs and the glory of ancient warriors, with the final siege in which the elves of Lorien were brilliantly inserted as if to pay homage to Leonidas and the 300 of Thermopylae. Like them, they tried to face what was a universal evil, to appeal, as happened to the Hellenic cities in those ancient times, to the concept of solidarity between different people but united by the will to fight a common oppressor. Choosing which sequence is the most suggestive is really difficult. From the charge of Gandalf and the Rohirrim, to the attack of Treebeard and the Ents, whether the final oratory of Theoden or the confrontation of Frodo and Sam with Faramir, perhaps the most underrated character, the closest to the concept of a war-destroyed veteran that Tolkien himself had been. For this, also for this reason, The Two Towers, even if less glorious than the third chapter and lacking the novelty effect of the first, remains the best fantasy film ever. It was capable of becoming a transversal container of incomparable size and grace, when cinema was still a wonderful journey.

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